Chilled Pea Pod Soup Recipe

As a sequel to my ode to the fresh pea, here is a recipe for chilled pea pod soup, a.k.a. “I have just devoted thirty minutes of my life to the shelling of those peas, and I intend to milk them for all they’re worth” soup.

Like all recipes that propose to use odds and ends that might, in other, less frugal kitchens, end up in the trash, this one delights me to no end — the nose-to-tail philosophy applied to the vegetable kingdom, if you will.

All you need to do is shell and trim your pea pods (I recommend the tear-and-pull technique, which opens the pod and rids it of stem and string in a single gesture), discarding any that is browned or withered, and keeping the ones that look healthy. These you’ll rinse well, drain, and save while you cook the peas in whichever clever way you’ve decided.

The pods don’t stay fresh for very long, so if you’re not absolutely positive you’ll get around to making the soup within a day or so, it is wise to throw them in the freezer (of course I recommend depositing them in some sort of freezer-safe container first, don’t be so literal).

The recipe itself is the simplest thing — an onion, some garlic, a splash of white wine, a whisper of nutmeg — yet I can’t think of a more refreshing start to a late spring dinner than this army green soup, thin-textured and cool, its elusive sweetness brought out by a few drops of hot sauce.

Pea Pods

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Chilled Pea Pod Soup Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Serves 4.

Chilled Pea Pod Soup Recipe


  • olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • the pods from 1.2 kg (2.5 pounds) fresh green peas, stems removed, rinsed and drained (no need to thaw them if frozen)
  • sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 1 liter (4 cups) quality stock, brought to a simmer
  • freshly grated nutmeg (use a whole nutmeg and a small grater)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • chili pepper sauce, such as Tabasco
  • a few stems of fresh herbs, such as chervil, cilantro, dill, or chives


  1. Heat a little olive oil in a cast-iron or soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened, stirring regularly. Add the pea pods, season with salt, and cook for a few minutes, until the liquids have evaporated if the pods were frozen.
  2. Deglaze with the white wine, and cook for a minute. Add the hot stock, bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 25-30 minutes, until the pods are quite soft. Remove from the heat and let cool, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
  3. Put on an apron (I mean it; this can get messy). Using a blender or an immersion blender, whiz the soup in short pulses until all the pods are broken down into chunks. They will refuse to turn to a purée; the goal is simply to break their fibers so they'll be easier to strain.
  4. Set a food mill (or a fine-mesh strainer) over a medium bowl and ladle a few spoonfuls of the soup into the mill (or strainer). Turn the handle of the mill (or press on the solids in the strainer with the back of a tablespoon) to strain out as much of the liquids as you can. Discard the solids (see note) and repeat with the rest of the soup, still working in batches.
  5. Sprinkle the soup with a little nutmeg, stir, taste, and adjust the seasoning. Refrigerate until well chilled. (To speed up the cooling, set the bowl in a larger bowl filled with cold water and a few ice cubes.)
  6. Pour the soup into bowls, add freshly ground pepper, a dash of hot sauce, and a stem or two of fresh herbs, and serve with thin, toasted slices of sourdough bread.


Rather than discard the solids right away, I prefer to reserve them in another bowl and strain them again after the first pass: I find I can usually strain out a little more liquid after giving them this short resting time.
  • What a great idea! Now if only my garden would produce 2.5 pounds of peas …

    (I can never seem to get them farther from the vine than my mouth, much less into the kitchen, no matter how many I plant.)

  • I’ve never thought of cooking with pods…too bad we don’t have a picture of the final product, I’d love to see an example of the consistency – is it thin?

  • Thank you! I really wasn’t up to making peapod wine, and I, like you, really hate throwing all those delicious but strangely inedible pea pods in the composte heap.

    I may try this after my next trip to the farm stand.

  • The onion and garlic mixed in sound great. I’m trying this one out soon!

  • Ruth Adams

    I love cold soups in the summer. However, I like to add cream and make it just a little richer and thicker than stock only. You can use a lot of fruit or veggies that way without steaming up the kitchen too much.

  • I’ve never seen anything like this. What a great idea. I’ll definitely have to try this…will be the perfect dish for a hot NYC summer day!

  • This reminds me of a passage in the Diary of Anne Frank, where they cooked pea pods, because it was essential to waste nothing. They painstakingly peeled away the inner membrane from the pea pod; this may be the fibrous part that you refer to.

  • I think the combination of peas, pods, garlic, onions an wine sounds really delicious. And I wonder, why nobody had the idea of using the pods in a soup before…?

  • Claire

    Kirsten: I don’t think Clothilde would claim to be the first to make this kind of soup. I don’t know about its international history but I know that peapod soup has been made for centuries in Britain and presumably in France, too…

    Anyway in this time of reduced pouvoir d’achat anything which makes the very most of purchases is a great thing to bring to light…

  • Waste not want not…and recycle.
    (she grins)
    This remeinds me of an old friend who told me about his life growing up in rural, Texas hill counrty. He said that they were dirt poor…which was really poor…because in that area, all there is are rocks, bigger rocks, tumbleweeds and Mesquite trees. Which gave “dirt poor” a whole new meaning!

    Any way…they were so poor that they would eat the chicken three times. You heard me three times.

    First they would eat it.

    Second time they would make soup with it.

    Third time they would break the bones apart and make broth with it.

    And they would save the feathers to make pillows with. And the Mother would wear the feathers in her hat to church.

    Now I am not sure about that last part…the story did seem to grow with my laughter!

    Well now, back to my original thought to this pea soup. You can also add ginger or a tab of cocoa.

    Bon Appetit

    Come by and see me sometime…that is an official invitation.

    Southern smiles and world peace,
    ~The Baby Boomer Queen~

  • pea pods, sounds exotic… i shall try this dish as soon as the sun hits up higher in OC California!!

  • Sara Meredith

    Would you be able to give us a picture of the finished soup?

  • Kitt – Indeed, I imagine a vegetable patch rarely yields 2.5 pounds of peas at a time, but perhaps you could freeze the pods throughout the season, and make the recipe with what you’ve gathered in the end.

    Cath – I had completely forgotten that passage in Anne Frank’s diary. I think a re-read is in order!

    Sharon – Loved the story! Do you suggest I wear a peapod on my hat?

    Sara and Sara Meredith – In general, if I have a picture of the finished dish, I post it. I don’t have one for this, but you can easily imagine what it looks like: soup, army green, on the thin side.

  • This sounds so very refreshing and delicious.

  • I love this as I absolutely hate waste and love to squeeze every last bit of flavour out of each ingredient. I am wondering what you made with your peas? I will be shelling myself tonight but broad beans, not peas will be the order of the day. I love how the pods are furry inside!

  • Pod soup? Amazing. I only recently learned how to do amazing things with those beet greens that I had always been discarding. now the pods live on. I love it! and such a fresh taste for summer.

  • Lindsay

    After shelling peas for an hour this morning, I thought, “I bet Clotilde knows what to do with the shells”. And, as always, you do. Thanks for saving my pea pods!


    PS– I made egg salad and decided to add the farm fresh baby peas. Perfect combination of flavor and color.

  • Nikki

    Made this yesterday and enjoyed it for dinner this evening. Sadly, I was out of hot sauce (still pondering how THAT could have happened). Despite the hot sauce, which I do think is needed, the soup is a simple delight. Delicious, easy and perfect for a hot humid day.

  • I have often felt it was a shame / waste to throw away the pea pods, but never thought to use them in cooking. Sometimes the answer is right under your nose!
    Based on my blog name… I think it is essential that I try your recipe :)
    Thanks for the original idea.

  • Perfect! I saved my pea pods from two days ago intending to do something like this, but hadn’t solved the fibrous problem. I’m going to make a pea pod soup with herbs and cream. Yum!

  • I’ve never made anyting from fresh peas-and this soup sounds great. Hope you had a nice trip!

  • ooh, i just got gorgeous fresh-picked peas in my CSA box. they will become this soup post-haste.

  • Well thank you – I was doing a search for Pea Pod wine (made famous in America by the old show ‘Good Neighbors’ aka ‘The Good Life’ in europe) when Your recipe popped up thanks to someones comment.
    Will definately add it to my recipe box.

  • I bought a TON of shelling peas at the farmer’s market and after shelling them all, I wondered what to do with the shell. I too hated the thought of tossing them. Then I found your recipe!!!

    Just made the soup last night….I am amazed. Light, but very tasty! Thanks for this post!!!

  • Paul

    Brilliant made the soup today. Did not have lots of pea pods so adjusted the amount of water. No wine so used dry martini works just as well

    • I’m so glad, Paul, thanks for reporting back!

  • It’s a hot day and perfect for a chilled soup, so this is on the stove now. I’ve been saving my pea pods in anticipation!

  • I have to say that this is great. Very sweet! And if you have a Blendtec you only end up straining out a few strands and fibers. Fantastic!

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